Kempton Placepot: Friday December 27

Nicky Henderson has some strong chances at Kempton
Nicky Henderson has some strong chances at Kempton

The best of the action once again comes from Kempton and that is where we head for Friday's attempt at the Placepot...

Grandouet was a very smart hurdler, managing to score at the highest level in that sphere, and he looks set to achieve a similar level of form over fences based on the encouraging effort he produced at Sandown last time...

13:00- With only seven going to post in the opening contest we won't risk banking on Vicenzo Mio even though he sets a decent standard based on his French form. In addit9on to possessing strong form in France, Paul Nicholls' charge also shaped encouragingly at Cheltenham last time, fading out of it late on having travelled well, and makes plenty of appeal here. Stephen Hero rattled up three wins on the Flat in the summer and shaped well on his hurdles debut behind a useful prospect at Wetherby. The form of that run has since been franked and it would be no surprise to see Stephen Hero produce an improved performance with his yard in fine form.

13:30- Grandouet was a very smart hurdler, managing to score at the highest level in that sphere, and he looks set to achieve a similar level of form over fences based on the encouraging effort he produced at Sandown last time. Grandouet may have unseated at the final fence on his chasing debut but he produced an accurate round at the second attempt, narrowly going down to Hinterland in a Grade 1 event. Yet to win over fences, Grandouet receives weight from his main market rival and that tilts the scales firmly in his favour. 

14:00- Utopie des Bordes may not be especially well treated but she has been running creditably in competitive events of late, and her reliability is a major asset for Placepot purposes. She should find this mares' event easier than some of the tasks she has faced and she can go close under a talented claimer. Scholastica, who hails from a yard enjoying a good season, made a winning return at Ascot last month and ran well in defeat at Sandown. Another solid effort looks on the cards and she makes the permutation. 

14:30- Sprinter Sacre is impossible to oppose as he bids to extend his flawless record over fences. Sire de Grugy is a proven Grade 1 performer in his own right but Sprinter Sacre has already established himself as an all-time great and should have little difficulty in making a winning return to action.

15:05- Caroline Keevil's Bally Legend is a course winner, albeit over much shorter, and he has always appealed as the type that would stay three miles; he can prove his stamina here. Bally Legend jumped well and battled gallantly to score at Exeter last time and his likeable attitude is a major positive. Merrion Square is another that has proven fully effective at Kempton, having registered a victory over C&D, and he shaped well at Sandown last time, faring best of those that were held up. As an in-form contender Merrion Square has plenty in his favour and should be included.

15:40- Vibrato Valtat ran well on his handicap bow at Cheltenham on his penultimate start - in a race that has worked out strongly -  and there was nothing wrong with his most recent effort at Sandown where he finished second in novice company. Vibrato Valtat is a strong-travelling type that looks well treated and he is bound to make an impact here. This looks like a competitive event, though, so we will also include Somemothersdohavem who registered a couple of in-frame efforts in competitive handicaps last season and is of interest starting out for a new yard.

Selections:
13:00- 2, 7
13:30- 5
14:00- 1, 5
14:30- 2
15:05- 2, 4
15:40- 4, 9
= 16 lines

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